On our yard, horses which are being shown will be fully clipped except for their legs- which will be trimmed- and a small saddle patch. Some people don’t bother with a saddle patch, but I think it helps to protect the weight-bearing area of the back.
If you’re careful, the patch won’t show when your saddle is in place. With experience, you can do it by eye, but if in doubt, position the saddle you use in the ring carefully on your horses back and mark around it with chalk.
Clipping and Trimming legs;
In many cases, legs only need to be trimmed, though if you have a cob who grows a lot of feather, you might need to clip his legs fully the first time. If he is prone to mud fever, you will have to weigh up the pros and cons of doing this in winter, as leaving some hair on the heels and back on the legs will provide some protection. If you want to keep him tidy, use thinning scissors and a comb, trimming the hair which comes through the teeth. Keep changing the angle of the comb, to avoid scissor marks.
Be careful when taking hair from the withers and cutting a bridle path, as taking off too much can give the impression that the horses neck is too short. If you’re note sure how much to take off at the withers, plait the horses mane to give the perfect picture, this allows you to see how much hair to clip off. Be cautious, as if you take to much off, it takes a long time to grow back!
Clipping to breed standards;
Always check breed society rules if necessary, as some have restrictions on what you can and cant do. Trimming rules and guidelines vary from breed to breed.
It must also be said that some exhibitors interpret trimming rules in a rather lax way and not all judges will turn a blind eye to those who have broken them. Every now and again, societies will have a crackdown and exhibitors who have been over-zealous with trimming or thinning and shortening manes or tails, will be marked down.
Do your research beforehand. Because we have lots of horses to clip, we use clippers designed for heavy-duty use when clipping coats and small trimming clippers for the facial area. Choose a machine that will be up to the job in hand and if clipping a nervous or inexperienced horse, the quieter the better. If you require more information on clippers, contact Clippersharp via firstname.lastname@example.org